Spent a brief few minutes on the iPhone 5 this past weekend, courtesy of a friend of my nephew who’s parents decided he absolutely had to have the iPhone 5 immediately (spoiled brats!).

My first impressions: light, fast and cheap looking.

It’s so much lighter than the iPhone 4 that it almost feels like one of those fake phones the carriers put on a shelf in their stores.

The AT&T LTE speed here in Phoenix was obscene. Easily faster than the home WiFi network my iPhone 4 was running on. But Internet speed aside, the rest of the phone felt zippier as well.

The camera’s low-light images were much improved over the iPhone 4. We’re not talking about a work of art, but definitely the difference between actually keeping an image instead of trashing it because it was too dark.

The new case design of the iPhone 5 (the black one anyway) looked cheap to me. It looked like “worn-out” plastic snap-on material I would expect from a $99 phone instead of the elegant iPhone 4 with its all glass case.

The iPhone 5 looks gorgeous in the promo photos, but I gotta say that in real life, it looked like crap to me. I mean I was REALLY disappointed in seeing it. Again, I only saw the black one, but it was enough to convince me that I’ll be getting the white version when I upgrade.

Ultimately, how it looks is largely irrelevant to me, because I’ll end up putting a case on it anyway. And every other aspect of the phone is awesome. Perhaps I just didn’t spend enough time with it to fully appreciate the appearance – but how the phone looks is something I tend to only care about for about the first day or so of owning it, anyway.